As one delves deeper into the world of gourmet or specialist ingredients, it soon becomes clear that, to ensure a meal attains the realms of the truly delicious, some components need specialist attention. This is why businesses such as Good Morning Neighbour are vital to enriching our food culture. “Putz’s Pickles” follow a secret family recipe, creating the perfect missing piece to your sandwich or grilled cheese with just the right amount of crispy, juicy, and sweet.
Creating quite the ripple effect by collaborating with the likes of Gordo’s Pizzeria, Dom’s Subs, or Top Cuvée, Good Morning Neighbour didn’t miss a beat by starting their business during a global pandemic. The man behind the perfect pickle kindly took the time to tell Hawkker a bit more about his business, what inspired his venture, and the ways in which Brexit has affected his supply chain.
Could you tell us about your background, and how you got into the business of food?
I guess for me it stems back to being in food tech classes as a kid with my mates and hiding used equipment in each others’ section. I think that the time you get to spend with another person in a kitchen is the most valuable time ever; you learn so much about yourself, others, and maybe even another language! I’m what you’d call a Jewish mother – but without being a mother or a woman. So I guess I’m just a feeder, I enjoy feeding people.
I knew pretty early on that I wanted to open up my own thing, a familiar place, like how in a TV show someone will enter and then everyone is cheering? That kind of place. But it took me a while to actually put myself out there and start that process, because it’s a pretty daunting thing.
I’ve been working on the London food scene for a few years, but it wasn’t until a hungover conversation one day that things started taking shape. That turned into a pop up, which turned into a near-purchase of a deli, until that fell through due to the pandemic. I guess the pickles are a relict of what was supposed to be.
What do you love about working with pickles?
Pickling reminds me of my nan and being a kid. Every time I’d go around for dinner, she would ask the same question every time, no matter what we were having: “would you like a Haimisha [cucumber] with that?”.
When I first told my nan about my plan to start making pickles, she kept saying putz this, putz that. And that kinda stuck, hence the name, Putz’s Pickles. We use pretty traditional methods when making the pickles and I really like keeping that practice alive.
How did the idea and name for Good Morning Neighbour come together?
How long have you got? The name itself is from one of my favourite records, Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them by Blu & Exile. The track “Good Morning Neighbour” is one of my favourite beats by Exile, it has this mad sample from the Mister Rogers show. The plan was to call the deli spot that, and I couldn’t let go of the name. Maybe it will happen one day.
What are the values of your business?
I really want to work within the community if I can. I’m still trying to figure out what and how. I left school with pretty much nothing and that was definitely a set back – I would get into trouble a lot, so if I can help someone going through something similar to what I went through, then I would like to do that. I’ve had a few ideas about running a summer kitchen teaching kids important life skills, and also a wee skate team getting kids skating – I just need to figure out how to go about these things now.
Could you tell us about your experience operating an independent food business in London?
I think I’ve been pretty lucky! Everyone’s been pretty supportive, but you can see that across the whole food scene right now everyone’s rallying together and putting out great things, and I’m here for it.
What are some obstacles you’ve faced, and what has helped you?
Brexit has been a problem straight off the bat. EU orders have gone walkies and the prices of cucumbers have skyrocketed as a result. Biggest help has been meeting our veg guy, who sells the best cucumbers in East London.
How important has social media been for you? Would you say it is a vital element for new independent food vendors?
I think social media is an important part of any business. However, I personally hate it; I wouldn’t rely on it being your sole way of selling a product either, since Instagram is designed to be never-ending and there are times when people are never going to see what you’ve spent ages working on as a result. If you can get out there and talk to people about what you do, then definitely do that.
And lastly, what’s the best way to eat pickles?
Straight out the tub or on a grilled cheese! I’ve been developing putz’s secret sauce for a while and that on a sandwich with pickles is great.
Click here to find out more about Good Morning Neighbour’s Putz’s Pickles.